A Walk in 1875 St. Louis
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Some of the textiles in our collection
Some of the textiles in our collection... Read More
Spring in St. Louis
26, May 2015

Who Was Camille Dry, Anyway?

Anyone studying Pictorial St. Louis, the enormous map that is a main feature of A Walk in 1875 St. Louis, will agree that producing something so exact and detailed surely took the skills of a master cartographer. Unfortunately, little is known of Camille N. Dry—or “Drie” as many of his maps before Pictorial St. Louis display his name.  Oddly, for a man whose profession involved extensive amounts of paper, we have little of his behind-the-scenes legacy left. Read more »

19, May 2015

From the Library: Black Misery by Langston Hughes

Black Misery, written by Langston Hughes and illustrated by Arouni, may not be a new book to many, but it was new to me recently when it came to my desk to be processed and moved into the Museum's library collection. Hughes finished the captions for the book in 1967, making it the last book he worked on before his death that same year. Black Misery is classified as a children’s or juvenile book, but once you read the 60-page book it becomes apparent that it is intended for a larger audience. Read more »

15, May 2015

WWI Artifacts and Memories: An Artist Overseas

Often when learning about World War I the focus is on the men in the trenches. Visions of going “over the top” and charging headlong into no man’s land and certain doom are evoked. Though this was a common experience for many of soldiers who served during the First World War, it was far from the only experience. Read more »

7, May 2015

World War I Artifacts and Memories: Sinking of the Lusitania

May 7, 2015, marks 100 years since the sinking of the RMS Lusitania by German submarine U-20. A British passenger ship on its way from New York to Liverpool, England, the Lusitania was running a risk traveling through waters that were at the time declared a war zone by Germany. The sinking of the Lusitania was a watershed moment in the conflict, serving as a galvanizing force in the United States that eventually led to their declaration of war against Germany less than a year later. Read more »

1, May 2015

Why 1875?

The origins of A Walk in 1875 began with a simple question: What if we brought Missouri History Museum visitors so much information about life in a single year of St. Louis history that they could imagine they were actually there? The idea was exciting no matter what year we chose, but settling on just one seemed nearly impossible! St. Louis has no shortage of big years in its past, all with different and exciting ways to bring them to life. However, one stood above all the rest.

So… why 1875? Read more »

20, April 2015

From the Collections: Whimsical Mechanical Banks

Cast iron mechanical banks became popular in the 19th century after the Civil War. During the war the Union and Confederate sides began creating their own paper money to help deal with the shortage on coins. However, the public was leery of the new currency due to its lack of intrinsic value. Coins would retain some value due to the metal, regardless of whatever occurred within the government. Penny banks were meant to educate children about the importance of being thrifty through the use of a fun and exciting toy. Read more »

17, April 2015

War or Negotiation? Political Divisions and the Mississippi Crisis

No matter your political stripe, you’ve probably heard and agreed with the following sentiment at some point in the last few years: “Congress never gets anything done! The founding fathers would be rolling in their graves if they heard about the ways Congress was dealing with [insert current event]!” Popular opinion polls make it clear that many of us harbor at least a part of that sentiment: In a January 2015 Gallup opinion poll, congressional approval was at a mere 16 percent. Read more »

14, April 2015

Commemorating Abraham Lincoln's Death

Today marks the 150-year anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. In 1865, as people around the nation and around the world learned of the horrible news, they recorded their reactions in many forms—from written materials like diaries and letters to commemorative items like ribbons and flags. For the first time in one place, you can see personal items and remembrances from the Americans whose lives were touched by the president’s death and its aftermath. Read more »

9, April 2015

World War I Artifacts and Memories: St. Charles Car Company

Following the outbreak of war in Europe in 1914, industries across the United States recognized opportunity and began to shift their focus to building war materials for the belligerent nations. The St. Louis region was no exception, and from 1914 to 1918 an industrial boom ensued. One of the many companies in the area to benefit from government contracts was the St. Charles Car Company. Read more »

1, April 2015

Sylvestre Labbadie Jr. and the French Connections of Colonial St. Louis

Colonial St. Louisans had to go to great lengths in order to maintain their ties to French culture. Their village, after all, was small and at the very edge of the part of North America that Europeans had explored. In order to maintain their ties to France and French culture, St. Louisans traveled to France or to towns in North America that also had a strong French culture, like New Orleans or Montreal. They also brought in French goods such as fabrics, home décor, and books in order to try to keep up with the latest trends in Paris. Read more »